5 Free Online Courses on Marx’s Capital from Prof. David Harvey

Geographer and Marxist scholar David Harvey did not set out to become a Marxist. He didn’t even know what a Marxist was. He simply started to read Marx one day, at the age of 35, because all of the other social science methods he had applied in his study of the housing market and social unrest in US cities “didn’t seem to be working well,” he says in a Jacobin interview. “So, I started to read Marx, and I found it more and more relevant…. After I cited Marx a few times favorably, people pretty soon said I was a Marxist. I didn’t know what it meant… and I still don’t know what it means. It clearly does have a political message, though, as a critique of capital.”

The word “Marxist” has been as much a defamatory term of moral and political abuse as it has a coherent description of a position. But ask Harvey to explain what Marx means in the German philosopher’s massive analysis of political economy, Capital, and he will gladly tell you at length. Harvey has not only read all three volumes of the work many times over, a feat very few can claim, but he has explicated them in detail in his courses at Johns Hopkins and the City University of New York since the 1970s. In the age of YouTube, Harvey posted his lectures online, and they became so popular they inspired a series of equally popular written companion books.

Why study a dead 19th-century socialist? What could he possibly have to say about the world of AI, COVID, and climate change? “I think Marx is more relevant today than ever before,” says Harvey. “When Marx was writing, capital was not dominant in the world. It was dominant in Britain and Western Europe and the eastern United States, but it wasn’t dominant in China or India. Now it’s dominant everywhere. So, I think Marx’s analysis of what capital is and its contradictions is more relevant now than ever.”

To illustrate, and exhaustively explain, the point, Harvey announced by tweet recently that he’s made 5 courses freely available online as videos and podcasts. Find links to all 5 courses below. Or find them in our collection: 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume 1 with David Harvey – 2019 Edition

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume I with David Harvey – 2007 Edition

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume 2 with David Harvey

Reading Marx’s Grundrisse with David Harvey

Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Udacity Running a 60% Off Sale on Online Courses Through April 13

A quick heads up: Udacity is running a 60% off sale through April 13 in the US (and April 20 in all other countries). Founded by computer scientist and entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, Udacity partners with leading tech companies and offers an array of courses (and Nanodegree programs) in data science,  cyber security, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and autonomous systems. To get the 60% off discount, click here, select a course/program, and then use the code CYBER60 during the checkout process.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Udacity. If readers enroll in certain Udacity courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Google & Coursera Launch Career Certificates That Prepare Students for Jobs in 6 Months: Data Analytics, Project Management and UX Design

We live in an age of less-than-total agreement as to the purpose of higher education. Should it immerse students in the best that has been thought and said? Provide an environment in which to come of age? Produce “leaders”? Or should it, as increasingly many argue, first and foremost secure professional futures? In the practice of recent decades, higher education has done a bit of each, to the satisfaction of some and the dissatisfaction of others. It has, in other words, become an industry subject to “disruption” by other players offering specialized solutions of their own. Take for example the new Career Certificates offered by Google and the online education platform Coursera.

“Designed to prepare learners for an entry-level role in under six months,” as Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda explains it, these newly-unveiled Career Certificates “don’t have any prerequisites,” which means that most anyone interested in earning them can do so right now. This goes for “new grads landing their first job, front-line workers seeking stable employment, mid-career professionals making a pivot, or parents planning their return to the workforce,” and presumably myriad other walks of life besides.




Available in Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design, “each certificate is completely online, self-paced, and costs $39 per month” — significantly less than most existing forms of higher education, even of the most professionally or technologically oriented varieties.

If you’ve dipped into our list of online courses, you’ve probably encountered Coursera, a leading platform for massive online open courses (or MOOCs) used by some of the world’s best-known traditional universities. Its new provision of Google’s Career Certificates should go some way to making more familiar — at least to those us who’ve already learned online — a reimagining of professional education. This program’s “disruptive” potential, due not least to Google’s own consideration of these certificates as equivalent to a four-year degree, has already been well noted. “But while the new programs offer a fast track to new skills and possibly even a new job in a fraction of the time of a degree program,” writes Inc.‘s Justin Bariso, “students shouldn’t expect the courses to be a walk in the park.” And given that they’re unlikely to get easier, anyone interested in earning a Career Certificate would do well to look into it today.

Below, you can find a list of the new Career Certificates.

  • Data Analytics Professional Certificate – In the U.S., there are nearly 15,000 open entry-level data analytics roles, with an annual median entry-level salary of more than $63,000. This seven-course certificate explores analytical skills, concepts, and tools used in many introductory data analytics roles – including SQL, Tableau, RStudio, and Kaggle.
  • Project Management Professional Certificate – Employers will need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027, according to the Project Management Institute. This six-course certificate prepares learners to launch a project management career. It covers industry-standard tools and methods, including the agile project management system, and key soft skills, such as stakeholder management, problem-solving, and influencing.
  • User Experience (UX) Design Professional Certificate – UX design jobs are projected to steadily grow over the coming years, with median salaries for an entry-level role around $82,000. This seven-course certificate explores UX principles, UX terms, and industry-standard tools, including Figma and Adobe XD. By the time they complete the program, learners will have three portfolio projects to use in their job applications.

The new certificates have been added to our collection, 200 Online Certificate & Microcredential Programs from Leading Universities & Companies.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty: A Free Course from the University of Pennsylvania

Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty. Who could use a course on resilience these days? To get you through this winter of discontent, the University of Pennsylvania has created a free version of Dr. Karen Reivich’s “Resilience Skills” course. (It’s part of the Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization offered through Coursera.) This course teaches students to 1.) understand the protective factors that make one resilient, 2.) make use of non-cognitive strategies that decrease anxiety, 3.) recognize thinking traps and how they undercut resilience, and 4.) create a buffer of positivity that boosts resilience in stressful situations.

The course technically runs four weeks, but it can be binge-watched at whatever rate you like. The course draws on the instructor’s book, The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles. To take the course for free, select the “Audit” option during the registration process.

Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty will be added to our collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

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How to Make a Savile Row Suit: A Short Documentary from the Museum of Modern Art

Savile Row is unfashionable. This, of course, is its great strength: not for nothing does that London street stand as the last word in timeless tailoring. Since at least the early 19th century, men have gone to Savile Row not just to commission handmade suits from their favorite shops, but to participate in as many fittings as necessary throughout the process of bringing those suits ever closer to perfection. The result, over decades and indeed generations of regular patronage, is the cultivation of not fashion but style. Even so, Savile Row figures in the Museum of Modern Art’s online course Fashion as Design, whose videos on the making of a bespoke three-piece suit you can see here.

It all happens at Anderson & Sheppard, a fixture on the Row since 1906. In the first video, “behind a drawn curtain, a master cutter” — whose job includes not just cutting the cloth but interacting with the client — “takes an initial series of 27 measurements: 20 for the jacket, 7 for the trousers. From these measurements, the cutter fashions a pattern in heavy brown paper.”




We then see the cloth cut to this pattern, “and the many pieces of fabric are rolled for each garment into tiny packages, which await the tailors.” The second, which begins in the back of the house, shows how these tailors “receive their bundles of fabric and set about deciphering the cutter’s notes. Three weeks after a client’s measurements have been taken, his suit will be ready for a first fitting.”

Emphasis on “first”: though the young man being fitted here only appears for one session, some bespoke suits can require two, three, or more, worn each time as a wearable rough draft held together with bright white thread and marked up for later correction. This reflects not the tailor’s inability to get it right the first time, but the rigorous desire of the Savile Row habitué for an ideal fit. (Anderson & Sheppard’s list of former clients include such notoriously perfectionist dressers as Fred Astaire, Bryan Ferry, and Prince Charles.) Watching this process from start finish underscores the truth of those famous words, “The difference between style and fashion is quality” — famous words spoken by no less a detractor of Savile Row than Giorgio Armani, but true ones nonetheless.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletterBooks on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Jeff Koons and Salman Rushdie Teach New Courses on Art, Creativity & Storytelling for MasterClass

If MasterClass comes calling, you know you’ve made it. In the five years since its launch, the online learning platform has brought on such instructors as Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Annie Leibovitz, and Malcolm Gladwell, all of whom bring not just knowledge and experience of a craft, but the glow of high-profile success as well. Though MasterClass’ lineup has expanded to include more writers, filmmakers, and performers (as well as chefs, designers, CEOs, and poker players) it’s long been light on visual artists. But it may signal a change that the site has just released a course taught by Jeff Koons, promoted by its trailer as the most original and controversial American artist — as well as the most expensive one.

Just last year, Koons’ sculpture Rabbit set a new record auction price for a work by a living artist: $91.1 million, which breaks the previous record of $58.4 million that happened to be held by another Koons, Balloon Dog (Orange). This came as the culmination of a career that began, writes critic Blake Gopnik, with “taking store-bought vacuum cleaners and presenting them as sculpture,” then creating  “full-size replicas of rubber dinghies and aqualungs, cast in Old Master-ish bronze” and later “giant hard-core photos of himself having sex with his wife, the famous Italian porn star known as La Cicciolina (“Chubby Chick”)” and “simulacra of shiny blow-up toys and Christmas ornaments and gems, enlarged to monumental size in gleaming stainless steel.”

With such work, Gopnik argues, Koons has “rewritten all the rules of art — all the traditions and conventions that usually give art order and meaning”; his elevation of kitsch allows us to “see our world, and art, as profoundly other than it usually is.” Not that the artist himself puts it in quite those words. In his well-known manner — “like a space alien who has spent long years studying how to be the perfect, harmless Earthling, but can’t quite get it right” — Koons uses his MasterClass to tell the story of his artistic development, which began in the showroom of his father’s Pennsylvania furniture store and continued into a reverence for the avant-garde in general and Salvador Dalí in particular. From his life he draws lessons on turning everyday objects into art, using size and scale, and living life with “the confidence in yourself to follow your interests.”

Also new for this holiday season is a MasterClass on storytelling and writing taught by no less renowned a storyteller and writer than Salman Rushdie. The author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses thus joins on the site a group of novelists as varied as Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, and Judy Blume, but he brings with him a much different body of work and life story. “I’ve been writing, now, for over 50 years,” he says in the course‘s trailer just above. “There’s all this stuff about three-act structure, exactly how you must allow a story to unfold. My view is it’s all nonsense.” Indeed, by this point in his celebrated career, Rushdie has narrowed the rules of his craft down to just one: Be interesting.

Easier said than done, of course, which is why Rushdie’s MasterClass comes structured in nineteen practically themed lessons. In these he deals with such lessons as building a story’s structure, opening with powerful lines, drawing from old storytelling traditions, and rewriting — which, he argues, all writing is. To make these fiction-writing concepts concrete, Rushdie offers exercises for you, the student, to work through, and he also takes a critical look back at the failed work he produced in his early twenties. But though his techniques and process have greatly improved since then, his resolve to create, and to do so using his own distinctive sets of interests and experiences, has wavered no less than Koons’. At the moment you can learn from both of them (and MasterClass’ 100+ other instructors) if you take advantage of MasterClass’ holiday 2-for-1 deal. For $180, you can buy an annual subscription for yourself, and give one to a friend/family member for free. Sign up here.

Note: If you sign up for a MasterClass course by clicking on the affiliate links in this post, Open Culture will receive a small fee that helps support our operation.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

A Free Online Course from Yale University Explains How the World Lapsed into the Politics of Fear & Resentment

“How did we get from the huge euphoria that followed the fall of communism in the early 1990s to our present politics of fear and resentment, and what are the prospects going forward?” These questions and more get answered in Yale’s free course, “Power and Politics in Today’s World.”  Taught by Professor of Political Science Ian Shapiro, the course “provides an examination of political dynamics and institutions over this past tumultuous quarter century, and the implications of these changes for what comes next. Among the topics covered are the decline of trade unions and the enlarged role of business as political forces, changing attitudes towards parties and other political institutions amidst the growth of inequality and middle-class insecurity, the emergence of new forms of authoritarianism, and the character and durability of the unipolar international order that replaced the Cold War.”

You can watch the lectures on Youtube, or stream them all above. The syllabus and reading list can be found here.

“Power and Politics in Today’s World” will be added to our meta collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

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MIT’s Introduction to Deep Learning: A Free Online Course

MIT has posted online its introductory course on deep learning, which covers applications to computer vision, natural language processing, biology, and more. Students “will gain foundational knowledge of deep learning algorithms and get practical experience in building neural networks in TensorFlow.” Prerequisites assume calculus (i.e. taking derivatives) and linear algebra (i.e. matrix multiplication). Experience in Python is helpful but not necessary. The first lecture appears above. The rest of the course materials (videos & slides) can be found here.

Introduction to Deep Learning will be added to our list of Free Computer Science Courses, a subset of our larger meta collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.  You can also find Deep Learning courses on Coursera.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

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